“Most of the things we need to be most fully alive never come in busyness. They grow in rest.” – Mark Buchanan
Growing in Rest

This summer I had the luxuriance of time to sit and watch the trees, to let them breathe, to be, to soak in the dappled light of summer until it washes deep down inside, into the resting place, the growing place. The special grace of time.

Life is not too short — but too fast. I’m convinced that the more we try to cram into our life, the less we truly enjoy it. There are season for muchness, but they must be balanced out by seasons of rest.

I have a peace lily that for a season grew ferociously. Then it slowed down. Then it stopped altogether. Then finally it began to yellow and die, one leaf a time. One day it got knocked over, and when I scrambled to retrieve the uprooted plant, I realized it was nothing but roots. It had filled up its pot to bursting. It had outgrown its habitat, and so robbed itself of soil, its bed — the resting place of a plant.

Do we do that to ourselves? Do we push our roots so hard that we fill up our life, robbing ourselves of good soil and room to breathe? No matter how busy our roots, if there’s no soil, any new growth we achieve will be stunted and yellow.

But in rest comes the things that make us “most fully alive” — tender love, deep reflection, peace, appreciation for what we have rather than grasping to have more, space to think and pray and be.

What would rest look like for you? As we leap into the fall season with its fresh routines of school and work and play, is there a new pattern of rest you can establish and protect? Maybe it’s saying “no” to something that will make you look productive (but produce no real growth). Or maybe it’s being more intentional with the down time you do have (putting away the smartphone and going for a walk instead, daring to look out at the world around you). Maybe it’s reading a book instead of watching TV (allowing your imagination to grow, and your senses to relax).

Whatever you do this fall, remember to give yourself room to grow.